I can definitively say that although it was true that I was tired when hugely pregnant and working hard on a nursery, and it is also true that I am more efficient as a mom than as a nanny because I can do laundry or clean or whatever while Josey naps, I can also say that I have never been so exhausted.
The funniest thing about my previous post was the idea that I would get some down time in the first couple of weeks. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have been more wrong about how the first couple of weeks would go.
First of all, Josey was so big that I had to have a c-section. C-sections, as the doctor reminded me on Monday, are major abdominal surgery. And it’s not something I expected. So we spent four days in the hospital, with doctors and nurses and techs and lactation consultants constantly coming in and out of the room.
I also was set on nursing Josey, and because she was so big, she was very hungry. Plus her birthweight had dropped a bit, so I had to nurse her every two hours, followed by pumping, and then feed her the bottle.
Change her diaper, drift off to sleep, then get woken up to take more pills or change dressings or have my temperature or blood pressure taken, and then it was time to feed her again.
A lot of times, that was all going on WHILE I fed her. All modesty in front of the staff went out the window while I was there- anyone who worked for the hospital pretty much came in whenever they wanted, no matter what I was in the middle of doing.
Nothing about that hospital stay was restful, but I will say that I was VERY grateful to be at Northside. The nurses and techs there were very good at their jobs, really helpful, and friendly.
None of that made the pain any less, though. First the air that was trapped in my body was pressing on nerves, making it hurt to breathe. Then it was having to come off the pain pump and relying on pills to help manage the pain as I had to start walking again. (Now, I take nothing.)
Everything hurts when your core is sliced open. Laughing, coughing, sneezing. I never realized how much Tom and I laugh together- really laugh hard- until it hurt to do so. I would literally be laughing and then crying from the pain. We laugh a LOT.
And then there’s the weird knot that is to the side of the incision, just under the skin. It bothers me and hurts constantly, and the doctor said it could take up to six months to dissolve. I’m hoping it’s not that long.
I feel like I’ve never heard how hard c-sections really are before because I had NO idea the recovery could be so unpleasant. But I’ve also been told that going into the hospital expecting it makes a difference.
I can honestly say I’m not looking forward to repeating this surgery every time we have a kid. But I can also say that I would do it all over again today for Josey. She was and is worth it all.
The other thing that made the first two weeks difficult was that 6 days after Josey was born, Tom’s grandmother passed away. We were planning to go out to see her on Sunday, and on Saturday morning we got the call that she had passed on Friday night.
Grandmommie was so special. She was 97 years old and fiesty. She used to mow her lawn in her high heels…in her eighties! She was born before WWI was over and grew up in the Great Depression. She had seen our world change so much, and she had so much fire.
In high school, Tom and I would go down to her house and hang out with her. She always made us sandwiches and just wanted to sit and visit while we would play cards or checkers in her living room.
And in college, one year, I made a big meal for her and Tom for Valentine’s Day. I remember she seemed so surprised that I could cook (haha!) and kept telling Tom to hold onto me because my meal was good.
When we told Grandmommie we were pregnant, she could hardly believe it. She thought it was a joke. For the next few months, she kept asking if I’d gotten a “fat belly” yet. It cracked us all up.
And then, at Christmas, she felt Josey kick, and her whole face lit up. “A baby is a miracle, isn’t it?” She had said.
And it broke our hearts to know she didn’t get to meet Josey. Eight days after she was born, we were attending Grams’s wake and then her funeral the next day.
To go from the happiest day of our lives so far to losing a grandparent all in a week was completely draining. We were happy; we were sad. We were worn out physically and emotionally.
The first two weeks after Josey was born was pretty much NOTHING like I had expected. Least of all did we “chill out for a couple of weeks” after she arrived.
Wrong. I was so wrong about what to expect.
I am so grateful to the sweet friends who have been bringing us meals and to both my parents and Tom’s for helping out around here, cleaning and taking me and Josey to appointments so Tom could work since I wasn’t allowed to drive or lift more than 10 pounds for a couple weeks post-surgery.
It has been a crazy whirlwind. I think we are finally settling into something of a new normal. I have accepted that I will look tired no matter what I wear or how much make up is on my face. That’s life with a newborn. But it’s worth it.
And that has been life since becoming a parent. I can’t believe it hasn’t even been 3 weeks yet.